Andrew Irwin strikes twice then gets struck out at Donington Park season opener
Andrew Irwin sensationally doubled up on victories during a dramatic opening round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Donington Park this weekend; however it took a dramatic change in race three when he was involved in an incident with Josh Brookes, which later saw him disqualified from the result.
The Irwin brothers had been formidable all weekend with the new Honda Racing Fireblade, and after their one-two finish in the opening race of the season when Andrew pipped Glenn on the final lap, the pair were shaping up for another intense battle in today’s two races.
Glenn Irwin had been holding the lead throughout race two, but yet again Andrew Irwin struck on the final lap, putting the brakes on his brother to double up his achievement for Honda Racing in an incredibly close battle for the victory.
The pair looked set to reignite their sibling rivalry in race three, and after fighting their way up the order, they were in the battle for the podium positions in the closing stages after Tommy Bridewell delivered a dominant performance. The Oxford Products Racing Ducati rider led from the start and edged an advantage to become the second different race winner of the season.
By lap 24 Glenn Irwin was into second and Brookes split the Honda Racing teammates, however disaster struck as Andrew Irwin made contact with the VisionTrack Ducati rider at Hollywood sending him crashing out at high-speed and into the safety fence. The Australian was able to walk away from the incident but he was out of contention. The race result was then subsequently under investigation by Race Direction.
As they crossed the line Bridewell won by 2.064s ahead of Andrew and Glenn Irwin. However following a long deliberation by the Race Direction panel it was announced at 19:30 that Andrew Irwin would be disqualified for his part in the incident for avoidable and unfair contact causing a collision and crash with Brookes. Irwin also receives six penalty points and by virtue of his total penalty points accumulated, he will start his next Bennetts BSB race from the last grid position.
The result means that brother Glenn Irwin leaves the opening round of Donington Park leading his brother by ten points in the championship standings ahead of Snetterton.
McAMS Yamaha celebrated a podium finish in race two with Jason O’Halloran to be one of five different riders, representing four different teams, who celebrated top three finishes at Donington Park this weekend.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Donington Park, race two result:
- Andrew Irwin (Honda Racing)
- Glenn Irwin (Honda Racing) +0.194s
- Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) +0.288s
- Kyle Ryde (Buildbase Suzuki) +1.035s
- Danny Buchan (Massingberd-Mundy Kawasaki) +1.411s
- Josh Brookes (VisionTrack Ducati) +3.557s
- Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) +3.817s
- Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati) +4.156s
- Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Racing Ducati) +5.437s
- Héctor Barberá (Rich Energy OMG Racing BMW) +5.757s
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Donington Park, race three result:
- Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Racing Ducati)
- Glenn Irwin (Honda Racing) +2.157s
- Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) +2.403s
- Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati) +6.510s
- Danny Buchan (Massingberd-Mundy Kawasaki) +8.657s
- Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) +8.923s
- Kyle Ryde (Buildbase Suzuki) +9.067s
- Ryan Vickers (RAF Regular and Reserve Kawasaki) +13.265s
- Lee Jackson (Massingberd-Mundy Kawasaki) +14.425s
- Héctor Barberá (Rich Energy OMG Racing BMW) +14.927s
Bennetts British Superbike Championship standings after Donington Park:
- Glenn Irwin (Honda Racing) 60
- Andrew Irwin (Honda Racing) 50
- Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Racing Ducati) 43
- Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) 40
- Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati) 34
- Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) 28
- Josh Brookes (VisionTrack Ducati) 26
- Kyle Ryde (Buildbase Suzuki) 22
- Danny Buchan (Massingberd-Mundy Kawasaki) 22
- Ryan Vickers (RAF Regular and Reserve Kawasaki) 20
For more information on the Bennetts British Superbike Championship visit www.britishsuperbike.com
Race 2 winner
“Even with the outcome this evening from the final race, this has been a great weekend, with two race wins at the first round on a brand-new machine.
“It’s been a good start to the season with Honda and the Fireblade, and I’m looking forward to the progress we can make. I’ll keep working hard, putting in the time and effort in the next two weeks, to arrive at Snetterton even better. But we have to be realistic there, we know it’s a different track and a different style to Donington, so we have to hope the bike is also competitive there, so I’ll go, try my best and hopefully we can do a good job.”
More, from a press release issued by Honda UK:
A further win and podium for the new Fireblade at Donington Park
It was another successful day at Donington Park for the opening round of the 2020 Bennetts British Superbike Championship for the Honda Racing team, as Andrew Irwin took a second race win aboard the all-new CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP, bringing its tally of wins to three in its debut outing on British soil.
The second British Superbike race of the weekend was another nail-biting experience in the Honda garage as teammates and brothers, Andrew and Glenn Irwin held off the chasing pack across the 26-lap race. Glenn started from the first row of the grid in third place, with Andrew behind in fifth, and by the end of the first lap it was Glenn leading the race.
By lap six it was again a Honda 1-2, as Andrew made up places to join Glenn at the front. Holding off their championship rivals, Glenn led the way lap after lap, but brother Andrew was hot on his heels and coming into the last corner made his move to take his second win of the weekend, with Glenn crossing the line 0.194s behind in second place.
The final Superbike race of the weekend also didn’t disappoint, but with Andrew starting seventh and Glenn 12th, they knew they had a job on their hands. However, showing throughout the race the strength of the new Fireblade, both Honda men set about tracking down their opponents, and by half race distance Glenn was sitting third with Andrew fourth.
On lap 23 the brothers made their move into the podium spots with Tommy Bridewell leading the pack, but again on the final lap Andrew made his move on his brother to take second place, with Glenn completing the podium in third.
Following an incident in the final stages of Race 3, with Josh Brookes exiting Redgate, Andrew has since been disqualified from the race, as well as receiving penalty points for his involvement in the incident, which means he will start at the back of the grid for Race 1 at Snetterton. Glenn moves into second place in the results and takes the championship lead with 60 points, with Andrew in second place with 50 points. After Round 1 Honda is leading the manufacturer standings and is 24 points ahead of Ducati in second place.
Meanwhile Tom Neave made an outstanding comeback in the final Superstock race of the weekend coming from last on the grid to cross the line fifth, setting a new Superstock 1000 lap record in the process. The race was rescheduled to the end of the day after a red flag incident earlier in the day, where Tom should have started from pole position, but after missing the gate for the quick restart he was relegated to the back of the grid.
However, cutting his way through the pack he soon moved his Fireblade up through the order to finish in an impressive fifth place, and was only 2.295s from the win. After this weekend Tom is sitting joint first with Chrissy Rouse in the championship standings with 36 points. Meanwhile teammate Davey Todd continued to progress throughout the weekend, crossing the line 10th in the race.
The Honda Racing team will now look forward to Round 2 of the 2020 Bennetts British Superbike Championship, which takes place in two weekends time at Snetterton on 21/22/23 August.
#18 Andrew Irwin: Even with the outcome this evening from the final race, this has been a great weekend, with two race wins at the first round on a brand-new machine. It’s been a good start to the season with Honda and the Fireblade, and I’m looking forward to the progress we can make. I’ll keep working hard, putting in the time and effort in the next two weeks, to arrive at Snetterton even better. But we have to be realistic there, we know it’s a different track and a different style to Donington, so we have to hope the bike is also competitive there, so I’ll go, try my best and hopefully we can do a good job.
#2 Glenn Irwin: It’s been an amazing weekend! Race 2, for sure I chucked away a win! The final race today was probably my favourite ride, even though we finished third, (then moved into second). I wanted to not do anything stupid and if Andy came past me then fair play, but to come from 12th, same for Andy he was 7th on the grid was a good job. That race was enjoyable I got to him and he was stuck behind the Ducatis and I felt I could pull him through, so was nice to overtake him and the others, to be honest I never give up and I stayed in 1.06s to try and catch Tommy [Bridewell]. I threw everything at that race and when you do that and come away with a podium, it’s the icing on the cake – a victory would have been sweet, but we never expected the results we had this weekend and we leave here as a happy team, with a really happy rider with his confidence back – a lot due to what I’ve been working on off the track. Thanks to Harv and everyone at Honda for this weekend.
#68 Tom Neave: We made a mistake not getting out on time, but that was probably the most solid and maturest race I’ve ever had, I learnt so much – it was character building for sure! I suppose sometimes you have to have a weekend like that to prove where you’re at, but anyone who knows anything about racing will know I should have won that race, the Fireblade was amazing and the team has worked so hard to be where we are now. We came through the pack from last to finish fifth, so I can’t be disappointed with that. Thanks to Marcus for coaching me and helping me with all my training, everything off the bike feels like it’s come together and with the bike I have the full package. Also thanks to everyone who is supporting me, it’s been such a great weekend to get my first race win! I cannot wait to get to Snetterton redeem myself, and continue my 2020 journey!
#74 Davey Todd: It’s been a bit of a crazy day all in all, with the red flag and incidents this morning. To be honest we had our work cut out for us at the start, it was always going to be difficult starting so far back on the grid with the times from Race 1, but we made some really good set-up changes and we were strong in warm up this morning, I knew we had the pace and made some good changes. In all honestly we had the pace, we had the pace to be at the front, we were running pretty much the same time as the race winner in fact – we had the pace to run at the front, but just that pack of riders in the top-10 is busy! We need to work on a few things but we’re making progress with the Fireblade and making progress with me, most of all, but we’ll be strong at the next round.
Team Manager Havier Beltran: We’ve had a fantastic start to the season, we arrived at Donington without any expectations and the results this weekend across the Superbike and Superstock classes show what a great bike the new Fireblade is. I’m proud of everyone in the team for what we’ve achieved this weekend and we’re now leading BSB with Glenn and also the manufacturer standings. We’ve learnt a lot across the weekend and have more of an understanding and more information of where we need to be stronger. Of course we can’t take anything for granted and Snetterton is such a different circuit to Donington, but we will refocus, set our goals and see where Round 2 takes us.
More, from a press release issued by VisionTrack Ducati:
Tough Times At Donington For Brookes And Iddon
Defending champions VisionTrack Ducati saw 2020 riders Josh Brookes and Christian Iddon have an eventful day at the opening round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Donington Park today with a fourth place for Iddon the best they had to show for their efforts, which undoubtedly deserved more.
After claiming a podium in yesterday’s opening race of the season aboard the factory-supported VisionTrack Ducati Panigale V4 R for Paul Bird’s Cumbrian team, Brookes had been on course for a second podium finish in the final race of the weekend before a collision with Andrew Irwin resulted in a high-speed crash fortunately without injury to the Australian.
Earlier in the day, the opening 26-lap race started well as pole setter Brookes grabbed the lead off the line and although he was soon overhauled by Glenn Irwin, he was looking comfortable in second with Iddon one place further back in third having made a strong start from the second row.
2015 champion Brookes was forced wide on lap five and dropped back to sixth place and by half race distance, he’d dropped to tenth which left Iddon to fly the flag towards the head of the field as he slotted into third place behind the Hondas of the two Irwin brothers.
However, as the race entered its final third he too ran into trouble and fell back, eventually finishing in eighth place, two places behind Brookes who recovered some ground in the second half of the race to take sixth.
The second 26-lap encounter saw Ducati rider Tommy Bridewell disappear into the distance, never to be headed, but both Josh and Christian were in the hunt for a podium position for much of the race.
Indeed, both riders ran inside the top three at one stage and Brookes occupied second place for 15 laps before Glenn Irwin pushed him back to third on the 23rd lap. Moments later, Andrew Irwin attempted to overtake Brookes as they headed towards Craner Curves but as he did, the two riders touched, and last season’s runner-up Brookes crashed out at 130mph.
However, race stewards later disqualified Andrew Irwin for unfair contact which contributed to Brookes’ crash meaning Iddon, who crossed the line in fifth was elevated to fourth place, his second of the weekend.
The championship table sees Iddon in fifth place with Brookes in seventh as they head to the second round at Snetterton in two weeks’ time.
Josh Brookes: “What can I say? Despite a podium, I wasn’t happy with the bike in race one, so we made some changes overnight. They really didn’t make a lot of difference in today’s opening race and I ended up making a couple of silly mistakes, so I’ll take the blame for that one. We had to change the bike again for the third race and that worked as we were competitive and had I got a better start; I think I could have gone with Tommy. And then I encountered the situation with Irwin. Glenn got past me fine, but Andrew touched me as he went past and down I went. These things happen so we move on and hope for better results at Snetterton.”
Christian Iddon: “It’s been a big learning curve for me this weekend. Race one yesterday felt good and I was happy enough but in today’s opening race, I really struggled, especially in the last third of the race. The final race was better, and I was able to maintain a good pace. I was closing in on the leaders, but I made a minor mistake which let a couple of others past. From then onwards, I fell away and couldn’t manage a final push for the podium. Two fourths and an eighth isn’t what I want but we can work with those results. It’s three finishes, loads of data and no crashes so there’s room for improvement and my feeling with the bike is brilliant until the late stages of the race, so we just need to work on that and we’ll be somewhere near.”
Johnny Mowatt, Team Co-Ordinator: “It’s been a disappointing weekend and we intend to look at where we need to improve before the next round. It was great to see Josh get a podium yesterday, but we struggled today, not helped by another rider causing him to crash at high speed. Luckily, he’s not injured but disappointing all the same that it happened. Christian continued to get to grips with the bike and with a pair of fourth place finishes, he was unlucky to miss out on a podium. Our aim is to bounce back at Snetterton so that’s our focus now.”
The next round takes place in two weeks’ time at Snetterton, Norfolk on August 21-23.
More, from a press release issued by Smiths Racing:
Challenging Weekend at Donington For Global Robots BMW
After a four month delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Bennetts British Superbike Championship finally got underway this weekend with the opening round taking place at Donington Park but it proved to be a challenging affair for the Global Robots BMW team with 11th place for Alex Olsen their best finish across the three races.
Both he and team-mate Peter Hickman encountered issues during the weekend and crashes in both practice and qualifying put Hickman on the back foot going into race one on Saturday where he lined up in 14th place and the fifth row for the 22-lap race. Alex qualified two places further back although both riders were promoted up the order one place after Keith Farmer was forced to withdraw.
The race saw perfect conditions all round the 1.9-mile National circuit and a good start by the pairing enabled them both to make good strides forward, Hickman moving up inside the top ten on the opening lap. However, he soon began to encounter an issue under braking into the corners and although he was lying in eighth place at half race distance, from thereon in he fell back. Indeed, he eventually took 12th place with Alex overhauling him on lap 14 to take a solid 11th place.
It meant they started Sunday’s first race from 15th and 16th on the grid with each rider gaining a place at the end of the first lap. However, having moved up to 12th two laps later, Hickman’s hopes of points disappeared on lap 11 as he ran wide into the gravel at the Old Hairpin, eventually rejoining in 23rd place.
Olsen, meanwhile, found himself locked in battle at the bottom end of the top 15 as he exchanged places with Yamaha’s Jack Kennedy on more than one occasion. He crossed the line in 14th place for two more championship points with Hickman eventually finishing in 18th.
Fortunes for the pairing again differed in the final 26-lap race of the weekend but a good start for Hickman put him up to 11th and although he’d slipped back one place at the chequered flag, four more points and another finish could prove to be valuable come season’s end. On this occasion, it was Alex’s turn to be out of luck when he was forced to retire just after half race distance with a failed gear position sensor.
Peter Hickman: “It’s been a very disappointing weekend to be honest especially as the whole team has worked so hard from the very beginning. I had two unfortunate, and silly, crashes in practice and qualifying and then issues throughout with the brakes so it’s hard to know what to say. We changed so much to try and improve things but all to no avail so it was a hard weekend and the brake issue remained with me throughout. In the last race, I struggled with grip also so that kind of sums our fortunes up this weekend.”
Alex Olsen: “It hasn’t really gone our way this weekend and, like Pete, I struggled on the entry to the corners with the brakes too. We did improve things race on race but whilst we improved in some areas, we lost in others and I had to make lunges to overtake people rather than them being smooth, clean passes. The final race was the best in terms of how the bike performed but on this occasion a sensor failed and I had to retire. We’ve made a lot of changes for little reward this weekend but on the plus side, I was able to fight for the points in each race and 11th in race one is my best BSB finish to date so we’ll keep working hard and look to crack the top ten next time out.”
Darren Jones, Team Co-ordinator: “It’s hard to know what to say really as it’s been a really disappointing weekend to the beginning of the long-awaited series. We’ve still got some inherent problems under braking, problems which we had throughout all of last year, and whilst we thought we’d got to the bottom of them in pre-season testing in Spain, it’s now clear we haven’t. They were heightened in a race situation and led to a few issues but at least we came away with a few points even if they were far from the haul we had hoped for. I was pleased with both riders in terms of how they worked and how they remained calm throughout rather than getting wound up. It’s frustrating as we’ve done so much work to try and rectify the problem and we’ve thrown everything at it these last three days but all to no avail. Unfortunately, we’ve stood still without realising so we’ll get back to the workshop, get our heads together and come back stronger at the next round.”
More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki Press Service:
SUZUKI’S RYDE 4TH AS FARMER INJURED AT DONINGTON PARK BSB
Team Suzuki Press Office – August 9.
Kyle Ryde: GSX-R1000 – DNF-4-7 (BSB)
Keith Farmer: GSX-R1000 – DNS-DNS-DNS (BSB)
Tim Neave: GSX-R1000 – 4-7 (Superstock)
Leon Jeacock: GSX-R1000 – 12-12 (Superstock)
Michael Dunlop: GSX-R1000 – 22-20 (Superstock)
Buildbase Suzuki’s Kyle Ryde enjoyed a positive opening round of the 2020 Bennetts British Superbike Championship this weekend at Donington Park in the UK, securing two front-row starts and a fourth place in race two.
Ryde put his GSX-R1000 on the front row for the opening race of the season after qualifying third and grabbed the holeshot as the lights went out to lead the way early on. Sadly, the dream start was shattered when a stone flicked up from a bike in front – as he battled for the lead – put a hole in his radiator.
Starting from ninth on the grid, he spent race two carving through the field to claim fourth, less than a second off the podium, and another front-row start for the final race of the weekend after setting the second fastest lap of the race in the process. Race three saw Ryde struggle early on as he dropped out of the top-10, but he recovered to eighth with lap times akin to those fighting for the podium. He was promoted to seventh after Andrew Irwin was disqualified post-race.
“To be honest I didn’t expect that from the weekend. In FP2 we changed the front tyre we were working with and that made a huge difference and I managed to pull a lap time out in qualifying that I didn’t think we’d get near this weekend. Leading race one I kept waiting for people to pass me but it took about 10 minutes, but then a stone put a hole in the radiator and that was that. It was obviously a real shame but there were plenty of positives to take from it.
“I was happy with race two, to come through to finish fourth and get on the front row again for the final race but I just struggled early on with the full fuel tank, as the pace was pretty hot from the start. But then it clicked midway through and I managed to start moving forward again and with another lap or two we could have had sixth and our pace was good enough for the podium at that point. I was disappointed to cross the line in eighth, but if someone had offered me that before the weekend I’d have taken it, which shows what a good weekend we’ve had. We just need to work on that early race pace and hopefully we can be fast for the full race distance, starting at Snetterton.”
It was not the weekend his teammate Keith Farmer was hoping for; the luckless former Superstock 1000 and Supersport Champion, on his return from injuries sustained in 2019, crashed in qualifying injuring his shoulder, ruling himself out of the weekend’s races.
“It’s so frustrating because we really found something this weekend and the bike started to really feel like my bike. We worked with the clutch and the engine-braking, as that has such an effect on the whole balance of the bike, and we could then work on the chassis. In the qualifying session we made some changes as we went and after putting in a new rear tyre I set my fastest lap of the weekend but going into Redgate the rear came round and I lost the front and I had a pretty big crash. I’ve got what they’ve called a phase two injury of my ACJ which can be six weeks recovery time, but I’m hoping to see a specialist this week and hopefully we can get that down. The team were doing a good job and it’s a real shame, but hopefully we can get back on track soon.”
In the National Superstock 1000 Championship Tim Neave came away with two strong results, finishing fourth and seventh, with Lean Jeacock collecting a brace of 12th-place finishes.
The team was also joined by Michael Dunlop for the weekend, as the TT winner – who won the 2017 Senior TT with the team and the GSX-R1000 – enjoyed two outings in the National Superstock Championship. With the major road races cancelled for 2020, Dunlop picked up a 22nd and 20th from the two races, using the opportunity to gain track time and remain bike-fit.
Superbike race one result: 1. Andrew Irwin, 2. Glenn Irwin, 3. Josh Brookes, DNF: Kyle Ryde (Buildbase Suzuki GSX-R1000) , DNS: Keith Farmer (Buildbase Suzuki GSX-R1000).
Superbike race two result: 1. Andrew Irwin, 2. Glenn Irwin, 3. Jason O’Halloran, 4. Kyle Ryde (Buildbase Suzuki GSX-R1000), DNS: Keith Farmer (Buildbase Suzuki GSX-R1000).
Superbike race three result: 1. Tommy Bridewell, 2. Glenn Irwin, 3. Jason O’Halloran, 7. Kyle Ryde (Buildbase Suzuki GSX-R1000), DNS: Keith Farmer (Buildbase Suzuki GSX-R1000).
Superstock race one result: 1. Tom Neave, 2. Damon Rees, 3. Danny Kent, 4. Tim Neave (Buildbase Suzuki GSX-R1000), 12. Leon Jeacock (Buildbase Suzuki GSX-R1000), 22. Michael Dunlop (Buildbase Suzuki GSX-R1000).
Superstock race two result: 1. Chrissy Rouse, 2. Billy McConnell, 3. Damon Rees, 7. Tim Neave (Buildbase Suzuki GSX-R1000), 12. Leon Jeacock (Buildbase Suzuki GSX-R1000), 20. Michael Dunlop (Buildbase Suzuki GSX-R1000).